Rogue Film School: Demigod Werner Herzog Teaches Lucky Mortals to Dodge Bullets

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  • on September 24, 2009
  • Filed in: Film


Werner Herzog is a hero of mine. I look up to him and his work regularly inspires me. With that in mind I could  accurately state that I don’t adore his movies in a conventional way. They aren’t the type that hold permanent residency in my DVD player.  I don’t watch his movies for the dialogue or his handling of the storytelling element of cinema. I watch because I don’t know what will happen.  I tend to feel the same sense of exhilaration as I watch each film. This is due to the genuine sense of uncertainty that flows through his frames. Of all filmmakers I admire, allergist I would put him next to David Lynch as the least likely for me to be able to guess how their movies are going to end.

The stories behind his films (and his life) are arguably more exciting than what ends up on screen. This isn’t meant to be disparaging of his work. It’s a high compliment. The spectacles he captures, visit this and the thought of how he was able to, population health are more memorable to me than the story lines. The raft overrun with monkeys in Aguirre: Wrath of God, the dancing chicken in Stroszek or the whole running time of Even Dwarfs Started Small. I feel like the arduous moving of the colossal boat over land in Fitzcarraldo had a more dramatic effect on Herzog’s life than it was supposed to have had on the lead character. His movies strive to do something. To express something that can only be expressed by the tenuous crafting of a succession of savage and beautiful images. His passion and lack of adherence to conventionality appears unrivaled.

His actors have threatened to kill him and he has threatened to kill his actors. He has dodged bullets and he’s been successfully shot by a sniper in the middle of a televised interview. He has two films on deck to be released this year and now he has just announced he is offering his own alternative form of film school. The Rogue Film School, a three-day seminar that will travel from city to city in the coming years, is his own personal brainchild and the text on the site feels like it was written by him personally.

Here’s where it gets good (from the site):

“The Rogue Film School will not teach anything technical related to film-making. For this purpose, please enroll at your local film school.”

“The Rogue Film School is about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature.”

“Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.”

“Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.”

So, there it is. You read that correctly. He will teach us to pick-locks, forge documents, dodge bullets and he won’t stand for the notions of inner growth or boundaries. He is a badass and he’s graciiously willing to impart a little first-hand inspiration. More information at the official website.

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